In this issue we'll talk about our switch, this month, from Urchin to Google Analytics
. We will also discuss capturing e-mail addresses for marketing purposes and we will profile Ed and Stacie Liao, who run Connecticut's Pink By The Harbor - a popular "brick-and-mortar" retailer with a successful website. One feature you won't want to miss is the first in a series of articles about web marketing resources. We will look at some of the options available for building incoming links to your site.
We welcome your feedback. Please contact us
with comments as well as suggestions for future editions.
In This Issue
• MightyMerchant Announcements
-- Signing up for Google Analytics
-- Billing procedures
-- E-mail quotas
• Tech Tip
— Capturing e-mail addresses of your site's visitors
• Welcoming new MightyMerchant clients
• Marketing KickStart
— Overview of marketing resources
• Client Profile
— Pink By The Harbor, a Connecticut "brick-and-
mortar" and online store offering Lilly Pulitzer and other fine clothing and home collections
-- MightyMerchant switches from Urchin to Google Analytics by 1/15/07
MightyMerchant has long offered Urchin as our statistics software for those clients who wish to gain a deeper understanding of who is visiting their site, what they are searching for, and what they buy. However, as some of you may know, Urchin was purchased by Google and has been improved as Google Analytics.
In January we will be transitioning users from Urchin to Google Analytics, which is a more useful and sophisticated site analysis tool. There is no charge from MightyMerchant for the switch, and Google Analytics currently is a free service provided by Google. All you need to do is sign up for a free account with Google and provide us with your Google Analytics code. Please sign up for your Google Analytics account by January 15, 2006. Visit our documentation page for instructions on signing up for Google Analytics: http://docs.mightymerchant.com/home/doc/cpage_308
-- Billing Procedures
As always, we strive to provide our customers with the highest level of support in the industry. Much of the support we provide is included in your monthly fee. We have created some clear guidelines so you can understand which requests are included in the monthly fee and which will involve an additional charge. You can read the details of our billing policies at http://www.mightymerchant.com/home/mm5/page_1176
-- Email quotas
All MightyMerchant e-mail accounts include a 10-megabyte disk quota. This amount is ample space for typical e-mail usage, but is not unlimited! If you make use of MightyMerchant Webmail, please remember to regularly use an e-mail program on your computer to download the mail to your system so it does not accumulate on our servers. If you need additional storage space for your e-mail, please talk with us so we can work with you to develop a good solution.
Our support site has many useful tips on managing your e-mail, from filtering spam to using SquirrelMail (a program that allows e-mail access through your server from anywhere in the world via the Web). We encourage you to check it out:
- Capturing e-mail addresses of your site's visitors
Utilize every opportunity you can to invite your customers to share their e-mail addresses with you. On your website, we recommend having a newsletter/announcement signup form, an opt-in check-box on your contact form, and an opt-in checkbox on your shopping cart checkout form. If you don't already have these set up on your site, please contact MightyMerchant to find out how you can do so.
Any form on your site which you are using to collect e-mail addresses should be clearly marked as such. As long as you give your customers the option of signing up for
your mail lists, and don't sign them up without their knowledge, you
should be building a list of solid addresses. Some e-mail marketing
experts recommend a system called double opt-in, which involves sending
your customers an automated follow-up e-mail after they subscribe so they
can verify their subscription. The downside to this approach is that it
requires one more hoop for a customer to jump through to join your list.
Remember to think about your subject lines before you send your message; If they are ambiguous, customers may mistake them for spam. Always including your store name in the subject line could be a good way to avoid this.
When you store your messages, we recommend organizing them in clearly defined lists or mailboxes. That way, you can more effectively target your e-mails. You will likely want to send a certain message to newsletter subscribers and a different message to customers who have previously ordered. If you sell to wholesale and retail customers, you will want to do your best to break those groups into different lists, to accomodate the different information each of them is interested in.
If you store your addresses on your own system, be sure that you have those files included in a regular backup routine. Your address lists are valuable, and you don't want to lose them if you have a problem with your system. You may have addresses from other sources besides your website. You can potentially combine these addresses in to the same lists, but consider whether these addresses are from users who have specifically agreed to get e-mails from you. As mentioned earlier, you don't want to be sending e-mails to users who have not indicated they would like to hear what you have to say, and it is better not to mix the "approved" addresses with the "non-approved."
Here are some brief guidelines for communicating with your customers:
Communicate regularly, but not too often. The frequency of your e-mails depends to some extent on what business you are in. Sending marketing pieces monthly is often a good routine. If you have lots of timely product releases and news that will interest your customers, you can send more frequent e-mail marketing blasts. Keep in mind that you run the risk of alienating your customers if you send messages too frequently.
Send concise and simple e-mail messages. People often skim through their e-mails. Keep your messages focused and short. It is fine to include images, but you want to try to keep the number of images to a minimum, because an abundance of images can trigger spam filtering programs.
Have clear links back to your site. If the goal of your e-mail is to get customers to your site, be sure to include frequent and well-marked links throughout the message to invite customers to go to your site and complete their transaction or contact you.
Give recipients clear instructions for unsubscribing. Each e-mail marketing piece should give the customer instructions for opting out of future e-mails. Be sure you have a system in place for processing the unsubscribe requests, so the user gets removed from your list.
- Overview of Marketing Resources
Overview of Marketing Resources• http://www.mightymerchant.com
Sources of incoming links:
When we build your website we automatically add your website to our gallery. This link is free and you don't have to do anything to get it. MightyMerchant is a trusted website with a Google page rank of 6, and that offers an excellent jumpstart for your own website.
This is a human-edited directory of websites, and there is no charge for submitting to this directory. It can take several months for your website to make it into this directory, but a listing in DMOZ is one of the most trusted, authoritative incoming links a website can have.
If you accept PayPal as a payment method on your website you can get a free listing in PayPal Shops. More information is available here: http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_shop-ext
Here's what Search Engine News (see below) has to say about a Yahoo Directory listing:
"Subscribers often ask us if it's worth paying the $299 to be listed in the Yahoo Directory. Our answer has always been YES! ...simply because this is one of the easiest trusted links you can get. Google even recommends in their webmaster guidelines that you buy this link."
For a wealth of information and tips on how to market your website online, we recommend http://www.searchenginenews.com. A subscription does cost $99 per year, but you get a monthly newsletter filled with the latest information and changes in the search engine world. You also have access to all of the past archived articles. Check out some of these helpful articles:
“7 Great Places to Get Authoritative Links for Free! — It's high time to harvest that low-hanging Link Fruit”
“Getting Started with Pay Per Click Search Engines — A Side-by-Side Comparison of AdWords, Yahoo Sponsored Search, & Microsoft adCenter”
“The Ultimate Guide to Getting Your Site into DMOZ — Find out the number one mistake almost everyone makes when submitting their site”
“Your 8 Week Step-by-Step Link Building Task Planner — A Timetable Guide that explains exactly what to do! ...and where and when to do it.”
We also recommend http://www.ducttapemarketing.com, and we aren't alone. Forbes magazine says, "Clever marketing ideas galore and lots of contrarian thinking on what works and what doesn't."
Entrepreneur magazine says, "For growing businesses in search of some great marketing ideas, Duct Tape Marketing is a worthwhile online pit stop."
The link below is to a series of articles from Duct Tape Marketing with a trove of great marketing ideas, enough to keep you busy for months!
We understand that getting the word out about your online business is a top priority for many of you, if not all of you! Keep checking SiteBeat in the coming months for more great marketing tips and resources. Let us know if you have made any changes to your marketing process, and if you are noticing results!